In science, naming a species after a person is usually considered paying homage to his/her contribution to society. Hence, the name was chosen to name the third species, Amolops chanakya is the most interesting
Researchers from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) and St. Anthony’s College, Shillong, have discovered three new species of Cascade frogs from Arunachal Pradesh.
The findings were published in the recent Records of the Zoological Survey of India edition.
Scientifically all three new species of cascade frogs belong to the True Frog family Ranidae, and these cascade-dwelling frogs are classified under the genus Amolops.
These new species are named Amolops chanakya, Amolops tawang and Amolops terraorchis.
These three species were collected earlier from three different locations of Arunachal Pradesh between 2018 and 2019.
Wherein, Amolops chanakya was collected from Dirang, Amolops tawang was collected from Tawang, and Amolops terraorchis was collected from Sessa Orchid Sanctuary.
The naming of these three new species of cascade frogs tells an interesting story.
While Amolops tawang is named based on the district in which this species was discovered, the name Amolops terraorchis refers to the one from ‘the land of orchids’ (terra = land, orchis = orchid, in the Latin), suggesting its discovery from Sessa Orchid Sanctuary.
The Sessa Orchid Sanctuary is the first such protected landscape in the world dedicated to the conservation of orchid
In science, naming a species after a person is usually considered paying homage to his/her contribution to society. Hence, the name was chosen to name the third species, Amolops chanakya is the most interesting.
Chanakya (or Kautilya/Vishnugupta) was a 4th century BCE scholar of India who was instrumental in the establishment of the Maurya Empire and the overthrow of the Nanda Empire of Pataliputra (now Patna).
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Known for his great military tactics and administrative skills, Chanakya is also famous for his Sanskrit treatise, Arthashastra, which still has relevance in economic policies, statecraft and military strategy. It is indeed apt that a species is named after this great Indian polymath.
ZSI is mandated to survey and inventorise the faunal diversity of India. As such, the findings of these new species are also a part of their regular research work.
Although the species of Amolops are morphologically cryptic, wherein identifying species by morphology and colour alone is difficult, in the present study, DNA Barcoding tools are used to justify the new species designations.
Adding to this, for the first time phylogenetic tree for the species of Amolops from India has been provided, including the molecular data from the neighbouring country species.
The team that made these discoveries include Bhaskar Saikia and Dr Bikramjit Sinha of ZSI, Shillong, Dr KP Dinesh and Shabnam Ansari of ZSI, Pune, and Dr MA Laskar of St. Anthony’s College, Shillong.
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